Sangria Cake

"Why would you do that?? You know how clumsy you are!!"

-my husband

I think the real reason that I love this cake design so much can be perfectly summed up in my husbands words to me as I was prepping the decorations. I have a long and substantial track record of clumsiness. I fall down stairs, I trip on flat surfaces, I drop roughly 50% of the items I pick up, and I'm constantly covered in bruises from my run-ins with inanimate objects. Anyway, I was unloading my supplies onto the counter, and tossed the plastic wine glass briefly into the air before I caught it and set it down. My husband - not knowing the glass was plastic - absolutely froze. He looked incredulous and faintly horrified. His next words - and I quote - "WHY would you do that?? You know how clumsy you are!!" Baaaahahaha....true story! Quoted verbatim. THIS is why I love this man so much; I never have to wonder what he's thinking! ;) He was thoroughly relieved to learn the glass was only plastic, and the rest of the decorating process was uneventful.
A few months ago, I was traveling with my husband and sisters to Germany for a vacation when our flight was waylaid by an onboard medical emergency. My husband is a paramedic, and he treated the patient en route to the nearest airport and handed him off to paramedics that met our plane on the ground. With an entire air bus full of people now stranded at a tiny airport on the eastern-most part of the Canadian coast, it ended up taking several days before we could get a flight to our original destination, so we had to entertain ourselves for some time in St. John's. And you know - we had an amazing time! I might wait for more temperate weather next time, but I'd definitely visit there again. :) One place we stopped for dinner was St. John's Fish Exchange - a cozy restaurant and bar that served creative cocktails and incredible seafood. My sister's beautifully-crafted glass of sangria ended up being the inspiration for ::cue fanfare:: this cake! ;)

All the amazing-ness of sangria infused into a cake!

Let's get down to the recipe and instructions, shall we?
Sangria cake: 2 white cake mixes 2/3 c red wine (I used a 2015 Garnacha) 2/3 c Triple Sec 2/3 c water 8 eggs 1 c melted butter Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line with buttered parchment or spray with baker’s floured cooking spray. Combine wine, Triple Sec, water, eggs, and slowly whisk in melted butter. Add in dry cake mixes, and whisk for 2 minutes, until smooth.  Divide batter into 3 parts, and add food coloring to tint your cake layers progressively lighter shades of purple - I used 4 drops red and 2 drops blue gel food coloring to the first (bottom) layer, and 2 drops red and 1 drop blue gel coloring to second layer. For the top layer, I used liquid food coloring - two drops red liquid food coloring and one drop blue liquid food coloring. Cake drizzle: ½ c wine ½ c Triple Sec ¼ c lemonade 1 juiced lime Sangria Buttercream Frosting: 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened 6-7 c powdered sugar 1-2 Tablespoons wine 1-2 T Triple Sec 1 T lemon juice 1/4 t. salt Red and blue (or purple) gel food coloring Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with wine, Triple Sec, and lime juice until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt and beat until well combined. After the wine is added, your frosting should be a pale purple. Transfer about 3/4 c of your frosting to a separate bowl, and color it a deep purple. Color another 3/4 c of frosting a lighter purple, and set all three bowls of frosting aside. Mirror glaze: (or you can use white chocolate ganache) To make the mirror glaze: Whisk together the gelatin and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and set aside to bloom. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin to dissolve. Add the white chocolate and allow to sit 1 minute to melt. Add the condensed milk and combine with an immersion blender until emulsified and smooth. This recipe will make much more glaze than you need for the cake, but the rest can be saved in the refrigerator and re-melted for other projects! Color about 3/4 c of the glaze a deep wine red/purple color with gel food coloring (I used two drops red and two drops blue). Let cool to 95 degrees F, checking with a candy or instant-read thermometer. (Mirror glaze recipe from Additional Supplies/Equipment: - 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle - medium-sized plastic wine glass (You can use a glass one, but I highly recommend finding a plastic one – it’s lighter and will stay better in the cake - 1 c blackberries (or raspberries, or both; can be fresh or frozen) - ½- 1 c each fresh raspberries and blackberries - 1 lemon and 1 lime, sliced and cut into small wedges - Immersion blender and a candy thermometer (if using mirror glaze for the topping) - Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! Assembling the cake:  Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Using a kitchen basting brush, drizzle all three layers with your wine/Triple Sec/lemon/lime juice combination. Use your lightest purple frosting for filling and crumb-coating; you'll use the darker shades on the outer cake layer. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and press blackberries (or raspberries, or both) into the frosting. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers, but without adding berries over the top layer. Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer ;) Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), you're ready to use your colored frostings! I used the deepest purple around about the bottom 1/3 of the cake, the middle shade around the center 1/3, and the lightest shade around the top 1/3 and over the top of the cake. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the freezer for at least 20-30 minutes to set the frosting -and in a few minutes - the mirror glaze. Now the fun part! Once your frosting has set, invert your plastic wine glass and press it into the top of your cake at an angle, leaving room to pipe mirror glaze under an edge of the rim. Since your mirror glaze is still liquid at this point, I found this easiest to do with a plastic bag - I poured the glaze into the bag and sealed it, then cut one end when I was ready to put on the glaze. Pipe the glaze under the cup, and away from the cup over the top and down one side of the cake, making it look like the cup's contents spilled over the top of the cake. ;) Using small amounts of frosting to help them stay in place, pile berries and wedges of lemon and lime around the glass on the top of the cake. I opted to leave the lower edge of the cake alone so the frosting layers would be visible, but you could add a rim of berries and lemon/lime wedges around the base of the cake if you wish. :)  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then slice and enjoy!

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